Today is International Women's Day. It is also my mother's birthday. I've always found the conjunction amusing.
There's a radio station in Philadelphia that used to have all women DJs on March 8th (maybe they still do). I remember one commenting that it was an interesting choice to have women work more on Their Day, rather than give them the day off. She wasn't really complaining. She knew that we need to hear more women's voices in the public sphere.
My mother married at 19, happily changed her name and loved being The Doctor's Wife almost as much as she loved my father. Theirs was in many ways a traditional marriage, but my mother always had a voice at home - and in public. When I was in high school, the state tried to shut down maternity services at our local hospital. Mom wrote letters, made speeches, and organized a bus trip to Albany - and the OB floor stayed open. Mom made our local chapter of the American Heart Association start programs for women with heart disease 30 years ago, before it was A Cause.
I never wanted my mother's life. I didn't want to be financially depending on someone else. I didn't want to spend my life being Someone's Child, or Someone's Wife, or Someone's Mother. I didn't want to be singlehandedly responsible for the upkeep of the house, the yard, the cars and the checkbook. And I'm not living my mother's life - but I am grateful, finally, for the example of my mother's voice.
Happy Birthday, Mom. You deserve an International Day.